Walter Cunningham, the final surviving astronaut from the primary a success crewed area venture in NASA’s Apollo program, has died. He was once 90.
NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs showed Cunningham’s dying to The Related Press however didn’t straight away supply additional main points. Cunningham’s spouse, Dot Cunningham, stated in a commentary that he died Tuesday however didn’t say the place or supply a reason for dying.
Cunningham was once certainly one of 3 astronauts aboard the 1968 Apollo 7 venture, an 11-day spaceflight that beamed are living tv publicizes as they orbited Earth, paving the way in which for the moon touchdown lower than a yr later.
Cunningham, then a civilian, crewed the venture with Army Capt. Walter M. Schirra and Donn F. Eisele, an Air Pressure primary. Cunningham was once the lunar module pilot at the area flight, which introduced from Cape Kennedy Air Pressure Station, Florida, on Oct. 11 and splashed down within the Atlantic Ocean south of Bermuda.
NASA stated Cunningham, Eisele and Schirra’ flew a close to very best venture. Their spacecraft carried out so smartly that the company despatched the following staff, Apollo 8, to orbit the moon as a prelude to the Apollo 11 moon touchdown in July 1969.
The Apollo 7 astronauts additionally received a different Emmy award for his or her day-to-day tv studies from orbit, all through which they clowned round, held up funny indicators and skilled earthlings about area flight.
It was once NASA’s first crewed area venture because the deaths of the 3 Apollo 1 astronauts in a release pad fireplace Jan. 27, 1967.
Cunningham recalled Apollo 7 all through a 2017 tournament on the Kennedy Area Heart, announcing it “enabled us to conquer the entire stumbling blocks we had after the Apollo 1 fireplace and it turned into the longest, maximum a success check flight of any flying gadget ever.”
Cunningham was once born in Creston, Iowa, and attended highschool in California sooner than enlisting with the Army in 1951 and serving as a Marine Corps. pilot in Korea, in line with NASA. He later bought bachelor’s and grasp’s levels in physics from the College of California at Los Angeles, the place he additionally did doctoral research, and labored as scientist for the Rand Company sooner than becoming a member of NASA.
In an interview the yr sooner than his dying, Cunningham recalled rising up deficient and dreaming of flying airplanes, no longer spacecraft.
“We by no means even knew that there have been astronauts when I used to be rising up,” Cunningham informed The Spokesman-Evaluation.
After NASA, Cunningham went directly to paintings in engineering, trade and making an investment, and turned into a public speaker and radio host. He wrote a memoir about his occupation and time as an astronaut, “The All-American Boys.”
Even though Cunningham by no means crewed every other area venture after Apollo 7, he remained a proponent of area exploration. He informed the Spokane, Washington, paper final yr, “I believe that people wish to proceed increasing and pushing out the degrees at which they’re surviving in area.”
Cunningham is survived by way of his spouse, his sister Cathy Cunningham, and his kids Brian and Kimberly.